The Roots of Southern Distinctiveness

Tobacco and Society in Danville, Virginia, 1780-1865

By Frederick F. Siegel

The Roots of Southern Distinctiveness

224 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6595-8
    Published: March 2011

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Using Danville, Virginia, which was dominated by planter-entrepreneurs and tobacco, as an example, Siegel refutes traditional arguments that the South's retarded development was caused by the Civil War. Comparing Danville and it surrounding county with a similar county in Virginia, a successful wheat and dairy county, he demonstrates that the Danville region's monocultures, products of the South's peculiar climate and soils, were responsible for its economic underdevelopment.

Originally published in 1987.

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"Using Danville as a case study, Siegel proposes a startling reinterpretation of the history of southern agriculture before the Civil War. The book is certain to be viewed as a major contribution to the debate over the impact of slavery on southern development."--Eric Foner